Need component upgrade advice- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Need component upgrade advice

    Bike is now 1 year old. When I first started out I didn't know if I would like MTBing, and so asked my friend to help keep costs low. Fork, wheelset, shifters are second hand.

    I'm only 53 kg (115lbs) and my bike is 13.X kg (~30lbs). I'm thinking of losing some weight off the bike.

    I read from the forums that rotational weight is the first thing you should lose. So maybe a new wheelset, and 2.1 rear instead of 2.35?

    What about the cranks and cassette? If I upgrade these, the old parts will go on my beater bike.

    Bike specs
    Frame Santa Cruz Chameleon 2010
    Fork Fox 32 Vanilla RLC 2009
    HeadsetCane Creek S8
    Stem Easton Haven 55mm
    Handle Bars Easton Haven 711mm Carbon
    Grips Odi Rogue Twist
    Brake SHIMANO SLX 09'
    Front Derailer SHIMANO DEORE
    Rear Derailer SRAM X-7
    Shift Levers SRAM X-0 Grip shift
    Cassette SHIMANO DEORE 9 SPEED 11-34
    Crankset SHIMANO DEORE
    Bottom Bracket SHIMANO DEORE
    Pedals Wellgo CNC Platform B54 Sealed Bearing
    Rims ELEMENT DISC XSD-1 Black
    Front Tire Kenda Nevegal 2.35
    Rear Tire Kenda Nevegal 2.35
    Tubes Airwave 2.1
    Saddle WTB Rocket V Pro Saddle 2009 Black - Nicro Rails
    Seat Post Rockshox Reverb heavy but worth it!
    New rider, MTBing is fun!

  2. #2
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    Before buying any new components, get rid of those tires!! Get a lightweight tube or go tubeless and get a lighter tire. You don't necessarily have to get 2.1 on both wheels, but anything can be lighter then those boat anchor Kenda's! Doing that could be all you need to drop a pound or 2. Oh, and maybe get yourself a lighter set of pedals...

  3. #3
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    The kendas are pretty heavy, but I wouldn't ever go down a tire size just to save weight. The traction and grip more than make up for a little heft. I second trying to set whatever tires you go with tubeless.

    To be honest, you're not really carrying any obvious boat anchors around with you as far as I see. That means that you'll be spending hundreds of dollars to shave a half pound here and a half pound there. You need to ask yourself if it's worth it. It's a great frame and a nice fork, so you have that going for you. Does the frame fit you well? Is it suitable for what you are trying to do with it? If the frame suits you well then there isn't much holding you back from slowly putting money into it.

    I don't know the weight of the current wheels, but it's a good place to start looking for weight. The crank might be an ok option as well depending on the BB you're using. An external crank and BB setup might save you some grams.
    Don't you hate it when a sentence doesn't end the way you think it octopus?

  4. #4
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    I did some googling and got this:

    Weight: Front: 923 grams, Rear: 1142 grams (Total: 2065 grams)

    (From: http://www.entro.com.sg/xero.htm )
    New rider, MTBing is fun!

  5. #5
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    Wheelset, tires and cassette are going to be like the only place to save weight. Otherwise you'll be spending thousands on saving half pounds here and there like zeb said.

    Change the rear tire to a 2.1 with a faster rolling tread, those nevegals are great for traction but are like boat anchors and get some lighter tubes. That'll be a good start. Then you can buy one of the SRAM spider cassettes those are really lightweight for the money. Then the wheelset, but you'll be spending a good amount on those too.

    Good luck. 30lbs isn't bad for a Chameleon, just get out there and ride it.

  6. #6
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    Wheels and tires will make the biggest difference. Not everyone needs a nevegal type tire. I prefer a lighter tire with less rolling resistance, even for rougher trails with lots of obstacles on my fs, but others may prefer something different. See what the other riders in you area are using.

    Unless you find a smoking deal on some nice wheels (or other components), you don't have to be in a hurry. There's usually good sales at the end of the summer through winter.

  7. #7
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    Pretty much an echo of pfox90's post from me too:

    It's not so much the weight of those Nevegals, it's the heinous rolling resistance. They grip well, but so do a lot of other tires that roll better. If you are determined to have as much traction as possible, as a rear tire the 2.2" Telonix kicks the 2.35" Nevegals butt for traction, and it rolls better too. At the least, get something different for a rear tire and use the Nevs for front duty only. That will make it feel like your bike has lost weight even if it's a wash weight wise. JMHO.

    As for the rest of your bike, a Chameleon isn't really meant to be a lightweight XC bike. And with only a few caveats, most of the stuff (as mentioned above) you have on there now would require quite a bit of moulah to get parts that are 'Chameleon-worthy' AND lighter weight.

    30lbs for a Chameleon with heavy pedals and a Reverb seatpost is not portly. If you are determined to lose weight, I'd prepare your wallet to lose some substantial wallet weight too. If that's the case, I'd look to get some lighter weight, but decently strong wheels. You could probably knock off a half to three quarters of a pound there and still have adequate strength, but you're likely looking at a $500 to $900 investment to attain such a goal. A Hope Pro II/Mavic 819 wheelset being near the low end of that spectrum and something like Chris King, DT-Swiss hubs on Stans Flow rims, Easton Havens or I9's being toward the higher end with LOTS of options in between.

    The Deore cassette and the Deore crankset are the other two places that stand out to me, but you won't be saving as much weight (or spending quite so much money to do so). Personally, I would ride those into the ground and then maybe look to upgrade when they need to be replaced.

  8. #8
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    You could go with a new wheel set but you would need to spend 500 or so to save a lot of weight. Good news if you love the sport it is worth it. If you get a nice set of tubeless rims and some new tires you could save a lot.

  9. #9
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    You can't shave that much weight changing wheels from your current ones. While you can certainly lose a ton of weight changing tires, I think whether or not you want to is going to depend a lot on your riding style - I love my skinny-ass lightweight tires, but I think if I was bombing rockier trails more aggressively, I might feel differently.

    What kind of riding do you do? A Chameleon with a Vanilla up front and 2.35 Nevs is a pretty AM setup...
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  10. #10
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    Most of my local trails are wet/damp and narrow single track with alternating uphills and downhills (instead of up all the way and then down).

    I've seen a lot of people with cross country bikes go much faster than me. Very little drops if at all.

    Got around 500 bucks to spare from part-time work. After reading some suggestions here, I'm now toying with the idea of trying out a lightweight (<1600g?) tubeless wheelset.
    New rider, MTBing is fun!

  11. #11
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    Bikes aren't fast. People are fast. Bikes are overpriced.

    From BSNYC.

    A strong rider can do a lot with XC bikes, and it sounds like you're really in XC bike territory - rolling singletrack is almost the definition of where they're most at home.

    What's the travel on that fork? It's adjustable, isn't it? Try it a little shorter, and see what you think. You could hate it, or it could be a revelation in carviness.

    Wet rocks and roots are a difficult situation for keeping traction, and I think more tire is helpful. Damp dirt, on the other hand, is "hero dirt" - fast and grippy. So, not sure what you're talking about here.

    Anyway, before spending a bunch of money saving a little weight per wheel with new wheels, keep in mind that you can save 550g, depending on which Nevegal 2.35 you have, exactly, going from your tire setup to my tire setup. Doesn't mean you'd be happy, but if taking a bunch of weight off the cheap way isn't something you decide is worth it, doing it a more expensive way is maybe not the right direction. One of the tricky things with wheels is that swings in weight between cheap hubs and expensive hubs can be pretty huge - like 200g each. But it doesn't effect the ride that much. While there are also some rims as light as 330g (at least, claimed) and heavy ones can be 200g heavier, a surprising number of inexpensive rims have weights in the mid-400s, about the range that makes sense for a daily riding XC wheel, as opposed to one on a garage queen or race day wheelset. Which cuts into the weight savings a lot. But since you have weird rims, they could be pretty heavy - going to a traditional 32-spoke build with a light rim could move a lot of weight back toward the hub, where it doesn't matter as much.

    Now that you've been riding a while, try going for a ride without adjusting your seat post, and see if you still need it. To me, it seems like something that would be useful for long, gnarly downhills, or to hit a jump line without having to stop and mess around.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrwSwitch View Post
    A strong rider can do a lot with XC bikes, and it sounds like you're really in XC bike territory - rolling singletrack is almost the definition of where they're most at home.

    What's the travel on that fork? It's adjustable, isn't it? Try it a little shorter, and see what you think. You could hate it, or it could be a revelation in carviness.
    The fork is 140mm, non adjustable.

    Quote Originally Posted by AndrwSwitch View Post
    Wet rocks and roots are a difficult situation for keeping traction, and I think more tire is helpful. Damp dirt, on the other hand, is "hero dirt" - fast and grippy. So, not sure what you're talking about here.
    One trail that I go to is really wet, and the other is damp. It also depends on the weather of course.
    New rider, MTBing is fun!

  13. #13
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    That's a lot of fork.

    A shorter-travel one might help things. It would be lighter, facilitate better climbing, and handle faster. The Santa Cruz people don't seem to think 100mm is a good idea. I think they're probably right - the Chameleon has pretty slack geometry with the example a-c height, but a 100mm fork would steepen things a ton. Too bad it's almost impossible to try different forks without buying them.

    The F120 can be adjusted to be shorter and has a kickass reputation. You can probably recover a lot of your investment in the Vanilla too, if you sell it. Maybe you can try some short-travel hardtails and see if that's something you'd be into. It would be a huge attitude change, but maybe, for your trails, it's the right attitude change.

    EDIT: Or, if you didn't want to give up the long-travel, you could do a TALAS, or a RockShox fork with a U-turn spring. But really - try some short travel bikes.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

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